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5 Feb, 2024 13:58

Interim president appointed in Namibia

Nangolo Mbumba was sworn in after Hage Geingob died at age 82
Interim president appointed in Namibia

Nangolo Mbumba was sworn in as Namibia’s fourth president on Sunday. He has assumed the position temporarily and confirmed that he has no plans to stay in office; elections are due at the end of the year.

Following the death of President Hage Geingob, the vice president of the South African country was tapped to replace him the same day; he assumed the role of his predecessor at a ceremony in the nation’s capital, Windhoek. 

“My aim was to be a school principal, which I achieved and now I have to thank the Namibian people for the honor they have bestowed on me to be their president, for a short period,” he said at the ceremony.

“I am not going to be around for the elections, so don’t panic,” Mbumba joked. 

He paid tribute to his predecessors and pointed out that it was reassuring that in this time of heavy loss, the nation remained calm and stable. “This is owing to the visionary leadership and foresight of President Geingob,” Nangolo Mbumba said.

“At this moment of deepest sorrow, I appeal to the nation to remain calm and collected while the government attends to all necessary state arrangements, preparations, and other protocols,” he stated.

Before the appointment, Nangolo Mbumba had served as vice president for six years. He is a member of Namibia’s ruling party, South-West Africa’s Peoples Organization (SWAPO), where he held the post of secretary general from 2012 to 2017.

Namibian President Hage Geingob died on Sunday in the capital Windhoek at age 82, in a hospital where he was receiving treatment for cancer. Doctors had discovered cancerous tissue during a routine medical checkup in January.

In 1990, Geingob became Namibia’s first prime minister following the country’s independence from then-apartheid South Africa. In November 2015, he was elected president, and Nangolo Mbumba was made vice president in 2018 after holding various ministerial posts, including minister of finance and minister of education.